Birth Injury Settlement is $5.65M
2015 Medical Malpractice Trial Report
Failure to properly monitor fetus during the last hours of labor results in severe neurological injury
The minor plaintiff, a now 7-year-old girl, suffers from severe and permanent neurological injuries as a result of a birth injury she sustained in May 2008. On 5/1/08, the minor plaintiff’s mother presented to the hospital for induction due to hypertension and possible preeclampsia. The baby’s fetal heart rate was noted to be reassuring upon admission and Pitocin was administered to induce labor. The Defendants continually monitored the fetal heart rate from the time of the patient’s admission on 5/1/08 through her delivery at 4:32 p.m. on 5/2/08.
At 2:05 p.m. on 5/2/08, the Defendants noted that the fetal heart rate was still reassuring. Plaintiffs’ experts reviewed the fetal monitoring tapes from this date and opined that beginning at 2:14 p.m., uterine hyperstimulation and a non-reassuring fetal heart pattern existed, which continued throughout the remainder of the plaintiff’s labor. Given these findings, the standard of care required the Defendant obstetrician, resident and nurse to discontinue Pitocin, administer intrauterine resuscitation measures, and to deliver the baby via emergent cesarean section. The Defendants failed to take such measures and the plaintiff continued to labor subjecting the baby to a prolonged period of decreased oxygenation and perfusion which caused catastrophic brain damage.
The patient was fully dilated at 3:53 p.m. and began pushing. There were prolonged decelerations seen on the monitor, and it was then noted that the baby needed to be delivered urgently. The baby was delivered at 4:32 p.m. due to fetal distress and non-reassuring fetal heart tracings.
The baby’s Apgars were 2, 3, and 5; she was intubated and taken to the NICU where seizures were noted within hours. She was subsequently diagnosed with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy and global developmental delays. She requires a G-tube for feeding and is legally blind. She has no control of any limbs and cannot stand, crawl, walk, or talk. She receives occupational, physical, and speech therapy. She will likely require 24-hour care for the rest of her life.
A trial date was scheduled for June 1, 2015. The claim was resolved at mediation prior to trial for Five Million Six Hundred and Fifty Thousand Dollars. The defense was prepared to present expert testimony that the monitor strips were reassuring and the child’s injuries were due to clots in the placenta causing hypoxia in the weeks prior to delivery.
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